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Image: Pat Ryan
Democratic candidate Pat Ryan speaks during a campaign rally, in Kingston, N.Y., on Aug. 22, 2022.Mary Altaffer / AP

Democrats win Albany-area special House race despite being outspent on airwaves

Republicans spent $2.2 million largely on the economy while Democrats spent about $1.2 million largely on abortion access.


Democratic County Executive Pat Ryan scored a pivotal victory Tuesday in a swing-district special election, one that provided a really strong testing ground for both parties' theories of the case ahead of November's midterm elections.

That's because Ryan ran headfirst into the debate over abortion access, framing protecting that access as a centerpiece of his campaign, all while Republican County Executive Marc Molinaro's strategy aimed at taking the abortion issue off the table and focusing primarily on the economy.

And Democrats were able to prosecute that case despite being outspent on the airwaves, per data from the ad-tracking firm AdImpact.

Overall, Republicans spent about $2.2 million on TV, radio and digital ads during the special election — The National Republican Congressional Committee spent almost $1.1 million, the NRCC and the Molinaro campaign jointly spent another $510, the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC spent another $420,000, and Molinaro's campaign spent $226,000.

Democrats spent about $1.2 million — $580,000 from Ryan's campaign, $476,000 from VoteVets and $187,000 from a joint expenditure from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Ryan's campaign.

That abortion vs. economy dynamic — a key feature of the ad wars too.